William Walsh, "Homage: For My Father"




The market will not open this morning

and the birds will not fly.

Squeeze all the baseballs into their gloves 


and rest them in the closet before grief subsides,

let the beggars beg in the quiet park

where no one walks by, place all the books 


upon the shelf to collect an inch of dust.

The bicycle gears will not shift and the car will not start,

nor will the man on the weather vane twirl his arms.


All the horses will freeze mid-gallop

like bronze statues in a parched field

and tonight the wolves will stop their hunt


so the elk may sleep without concern.

Turn off the television, the water spigot, yield

to all the mind’s traffic, disconnect the radio, tell the children 


playing in the street to go home.  Quiet 

the newscaster’s microphone, hush

your love-making, please ask the rain not to fall.


I’ve locked the doors, nailed the windows shut,

snapped the Tupperware closed, and sealed the hearth 

of all that is unresolved.  We know only by unknowing, 


we know beyond what there is to say, 

whom now will I ask about the world?

The days will continue and coffee pots will perk 


in silence as old ladies stand alone in their kitchens

cooking casseroles and making Jello with oranges

for today and forever more each bright star 


born deep in the universe will have darkness 

trailing behind like a boy trying to catch up 

to his father on a crowded city sidewalk.



William Walsh has published five books: Speak So I Shall Know Thee: Interviews with Southern Writers, The Ordinary Life of a Sculptor, The Conscience of My Other Being, Under the Rock Umbrella: Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977, and most recently David Bottoms: Critical Essays and Interviews (McFarland).  His work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Five Points, Shenandoah, The Flannery O’Connor Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poets & Writers, AWP Chronicle, Rattle, The James Dickey Review, and elsewhere.  He is also a world-renown photographer.